The virtue of travelling light

By Monsignor John Devine

I am adjusting to the idea that I am moving from Warrington. From the beginning of September I have been assigned to the Isle of Man. I am to take the place of Canon Philip Gillespie who, I hope, will continue to write for the Pic from his new post in Rome.

In the Sunday Gospel reading for 12 July, Jesus tells his disciples to travel light. He instructs them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses ... "Do not take a spare tunic."

Recent weeks have seen the feasts of Augustine, Boniface and Columba. Augustine was Italian and the apostle of England (or at least the Home Counties); Boniface (originally Wynfrith) was an Englishman and the apostle of Germany; Columba was Irish and from his monastery in Iona became the apostle of Scotland and the north of England. Travelling was second nature to them. They were faithful to the Lord's command and of necessity travelled light.

I fail the first test of a disciple. I require a naval convoy to ferry me and my stuff across the Irish Sea: books, papers, files, a garage full of junk, and a cat and a dog. Prior to my departure for South America I was advised not to take God with me but that I would find him there already. And I did. I also found I could buy everything I needed.

I have a choice. Shall I hire a skip now or wait until I am dead and have someone else clear up after me? The cat and the dog are non-negotiable but I must be ruthless with the rest.